Last night, my kid sister asked me to do a table-saw chore for her, and to have her son help.
So I took the pieces she wanted trimmed, haled Michael out to the garage, went through a long and careful setup, including adjusting the height of the blade to just barely go through the stock. Along the way, I emphasized every possible safety precaution, usually more than once. I was careful to unplug the saw when making adjustments to the blade. I made sure we had plenty of light. I was, of course, careful to use a push stick.
I proceeded to rip down the first piece, and reached to pull it out from behind the blade.
Michael was then treated to a fine performance of the word, “Fuck!”, with many encores and curtain calls.
The interesting thing is, it barely hurts, mostly a bit of sting around the edges. I think I just shaved all the pain receptors right off. For about half an hour after the accident, my whole finger was totally numb. I couldn’t even tell at first whether I’d removed a significant portion of it. Fortunately, it is just a shave. No bone involvement, which means I can still make the appropriate hand signal should the occasion arise.
Heck, it didn’t even bleed all that much. I elected not to go to an emergency room, because I simply don’t know what they could have done. There’s no missing piece to reattach, no gash to stitch up. Just a spot on the side of my finger sliced off nice and flat. Barely missed the nail. Kind of like a really big torn off hangnail.
I actually don’t know exactly what I did wrong. I think it had to do with the nature of the task: slicing one foot off a tee-shaped piece. The blade didn’t show up well against the upright, since, as I said, it barely protruded through the foot, and I just didn’t watch where my hand went carefully enough.
Picture of the damage In spoiler tags for the squeamish:
There’s a movement among gun-folk to retire the phrase, “accidental discharge” in favor of “negligent discharge.” This, then, qualifies as “negligent sawing”.
I’m not proud of this, but…damn, I’m glad it wasn’t any worse. Damn, I’m glad there wasn’t a firearm involved (that would almost certainly have involved an emergency room, and thence the cops).
And damn, but it only takes an instant to do something like this, and you can’t ever take that instant back.
I’ll wear the reminder of this for the rest of my life.
Oh, yes: Once I was bandaged up, I went back out and finished the job. No further incident. Back on the horse that threw me, and all.